October 14, 2011

A Very Canadian Thanksgiving

It seems for the thousands of Wooly Bear caterpillars that risk their lives to cross the roads here in the fall year after year, the grass must truly be greener on the other side. Why would they risk the perilous crossing otherwise, poor things? Squashed, runover caterpillars appear everywhere, and soft hearted people swerve in an attempt to miss the ones still inching their way across the asphalt. Fall is the tragic, but beautiful death of the year. From the smoke from crackling bonfires of fallen leaves and pruned branches and the damp, earthy scents after days of cool rain, to the overripe sweetness of apples and plums fallen to the ground and the water's edge smell of decaying salmon that have completed their epic spawning mission and succomed to their exhaustion, the air is full of it. It is during the middle of this season when we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving. The idea for celebrating it at this time is to enjoy the bounty of the recent harvest and to give thanks for the cycle of life and all its gifts, a practise inherited from our European and British ancestors. The holiday also gives us a day off in October. During the latter part of the 1800's and before World War I, we celebrated Thanksgiving in November. After World War I, which brought the November 11th Remembrance Day holiday, the Canadian government decided to move Thanksgiving back to the second Monday in October. Americans celebrate their Thanksgiving late in November to commemorate the arrival of the first Pilgrims to their shores, and they, being further south enjoy a typically later harvest.

We spent our Thanksgiving Sunday with our friends again on their beautiful farm. Across the road from their house are man-made spawning channels, an extension of the natural slough that surrounds the island on which they live. After a delicious mid-day meal of roasted turkey and all the trimmings, and while their two children and three of ours (our eldest spent the week visiting his grandparents) went canoeing, we adults walked along the shore of the channels, watching the coho and spring salmon fight and splash their way up the stream.

launching the girls' canoe

And the boys are off

A beaver trail leading from the water to some
very fine trees for dam building

rosehips and racing!

Still water reflection

Beautiful fiery sumac on the walk back to the house

Room for rent

After our outdoor adventure, we headed back indoors for dessert, which consisted of pumpkin pie made with maple syrup as the sweetener (you cannot get much more Canadian than that) and delicious blackberry pie with plenty of whipped cream. My husband and I did as many dishes as our hosts would allow us to do, and then we rounded up the kids who were enjoying a rousing battle with 'nerf darts'. We are so thankful for these friends who shared their holiday and their harvest with us. We came home with fresh eggs, potatoes directly from the field, apples and pears from their trees, but more than that, we came home with pictures, in our camera to share with you, and in our minds to keep forever.


  1. nice...sounds like a great time...and what an adventure eh? beautiful pics...had to be cool to see the salmon too...thanksgiving is still on the way here...cant wait for the turkey sandwiches after...ha

  2. What a lovely day, Rebecca. A day filled with great friends, great food and a little bit of adventure. What could be better?

  3. Fantastic!

    Great post. I agree with all you say about friends and memories - and I loved the 'rosehips and racing' monicker for that photo.

    Some lovely pics - you are lucky to have mates like that!

    enjoy the weekend!

  4. How useful are those canoes for one person. I hear that they are hard to con with only one. And are they stable in rough water.

    Lovely photos btw. I like the one with the mountain reflected in the beaver pond. It looks like a shot from an 80s film about Vietnam.

  5. Brian: Turkey sandwiches with a bit of cranberry sauce are the best!

    Roxanne: After the craziness of September I am always so happy to get to the equilibrium of Thanksgiving :)

    Alistair: Thanks, and we are very lucky to have these particular mates!

    roaringforties: Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, too. Canoes are fine for rough water, very stable with additional floatation devices in the bow and stern. Canoes came from the First Peoples who were here long before horses and wagons - canoe is how they travelled on ocean, river, and whitewater!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful day! And the food sounds delicious, especially the pies : ) Your photos are so beautiful...I love the mountains and the water.

  7. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving. Your photographs are SO, SO beautiful!!! AND, what fun!

    Now, the blackberry pie has my mouth watering! Oh how I love berry pie!

  8. So nice to read about and see pictures of your wonderful Thanksgiving as I wind down from a long, tiring day. It gives me inspiration for tomorrow because life can be good. :)

  9. I am so late with this, but Happy Thanksgiving. Ours is only three weeks away. I can not wait.


I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!